Every scene has its characters. Men who go against the grain for whatever reason, be it for spite, or for sport. Leland Thurman is that kind of guy. In a series of popular underground BMX videos in the mid '90s, Leland’s alter ego Luscious Lee Wade exposed pubescent pedal pushers to the sticky seats of his tour bus in a shameless display that lowered standards even more rapidly than it raised eyebrows. Before Leland, BMXers wore jerseys, entered contests and respected the game. After him, boozing and bufoonery became the norm. Not everything Leland does for his own entertainment sits well with his audience, and that's just the way he likes it.
Today this UPS man, T-shirt entrepreneur and motorcycle convert has insinuated himself into the chopper scene with similar charisma and zero respect for the status quo. Leland is a chopper fanatic who can't rebuild the heads on an old Indian, but he wouldn't think twice about letting an old indian give him head. Has Luscious Lee made mistakes? Of course. Does he regret them? Never.
Give us the basics.
I’m 35 years old, I live in Louisville, Kentucky, and I’m the owner of Shitluck Clothing. My real job for the past 18 years has been working for UPS, but I also moonlight for Andrew Garret Exhibitions. I do a lot of shit, so when I do get time off, I make it count.
What’s the story at your full-time gig for UPS?
There are about 10,000 people in Louisville who work for UPS. I rank 114 out of 6,000 on the seniority scale. I get paid way too much money to hang out with a freak show. My co-workers include homeless guys, meth heads, born-again Christians, fat, disgusting lazy people, amputees, toothless immigrants, sheriff deputies, perverts, germ freaks, under-qualified managers, pool players, semi-pro wrestlers, bikers, sport fanatics and a six-foot-six Korean who drives a RAV4. Every night is a party, every night is something different.
I started Shitluck in 2002 with my friend Mike Tag. Tag’s an old BMX trail boss. We make t-shirts. T-shirts for losers. The profits help pay for the dumb shit I do when I'm not working three jobs. Lately I've been spending a lot of time riding and working on motorcycles, and that shit's expensive. Shitluck helps me survive, but it also sums up the way I live.
What’s the craziest two-wheeled adventure you can remember?
One time I was visiting my BMX buddy Ruben in Malaga, Spain. We rented scooters to get around. One night after the bar closed we ended up racing on these light gravel paths through a tropical park. Since I was riding with a broken arm, I laid my scooter down in about the second turn while my friends hauled ass. To catch up I did what any drunk American might do—I rode like a bat out of hell though the bushes. In one clump of bushes I ran into two gay dudes humping on the ground. When I plowed through more trees about 20 queer Spaniards jumped up and scattered everywhere. Later that week I got a blowjob from an Ethiopian hooker at a slaughterhouse. Imagine me rubbing a hooker’s ass and leaning against the fence with my dick in my hand while the pigs squealed for their lives.
Who’s in your current crew?
The guys in my crew include Will Dietzman, Brian Lytle, Jimmy Flaherty, The Fids, LB, The Teacher, Charlie Dillon, James Kempt, my Dad, Mike Tag, Joe Cupp and Kerry Sayre.
Been anywhere on your motorcycle lately?
I just returned from the Smokeout East. About an hour ago I took my girlfriend to the ice cream parlor.
What bikes are in your current stable?
I have a stock 2002 Honda SS and a ‘96 Suzuki Savage project that Flaherty and I are working on. We have no clue what the fuck we are doing. My bicycle kit includes an FBM Sword and a custom Autopilot, a United Magnolia frame and an old commuter bike someone left in my garage.
You’re a bicycle guy, so I bet your tool box is shy on motorcycle stuff. What tools do you wish you had but don’t?
A welder, an air compressor and a 27mm box wrench. I just learned how to weld about a week ago and I'm fuckin’ hooked. How about a new garage? Mine is sinking due to the flood of ‘97 where I lost everything I owned. There is crack in the wall so wide I can see who’s walking through my side gate.
You’ve done some weird shit over the years. What’s your proudest moment?
I'm getting ready to sue the police department because a cop ran a red light and smashed me into a telephone pole. Does that count? Seriously, I’m pretty proud of turning my joke of a t-shirt company into what it is today. Granted, it ain’t much, but it pays the phone bill and a few trips here and there, and I've always done it my way and done what I've wanted to do. What we do isn’t always the right thing, but we learn from our mistakes and it always seems to work out in the end.
A man who dances in thongs and chaps doesn’t have much to hide. Is there anything people don’t know about you?
I enjoy cleaning my kitchen and doing yard work. I never thought in a million years I would say that. I also have a magnet collection on my refrigerator. I can't do long division. When I was a kid I got mad at my dad so I shoved his toothbrush in my ass. I ripped a urinal off the wall and flooded my friend’s bike company. I've watched a turd come out of my friend's ass. I like to dress like a woman. I’m obsessed with gay people, but I love women. I've kissed three dudes. I always say I'm the luckiest unlucky guy I know. Now I think it’s more like I'm the gayest straight guy I know. Oh yeah, I love cats.
That’s a lot of weird shit. Any regrets?
When I was nine I locked my dog Chief in the car when the heat index was about 101 degrees. I killed my fucking dog.
Why choppers, and why now?
I am here to have a fucking good time and to watch and document everything and everybody I come in contact with. I love watching life in action. One day I am going to write a book. I should start now but life is far from over and there is so much to tell.